EL MALEFICIO (THE CURSE)
May 5 – May 31, 2016
El Maleficio is an exhibition of new and recent works by Los Angeles based artist Oscar Magallanes. Magallanes’ work is heavily influenced by the social and environmental issues of his upbringing in a Mexican Barrio. His work is known for its use of bold graphics, cultural and political iconography, along with visual rhetoric of popular people’s movements such as that of labor and civil rights movements. The works’ compositions hold the viewers positionally in a non-idealized pedagogy that resist the “othering” effect so often seen in reactionary propaganda. By doing so, it alludes to the parallel histories that are not dependent on western views but turns the gaze onto the “Western” from the position of the “elsewhere”.
El Maleficio or The Curse is referenced in a line taken from Gabino Palomares’ song La maldición de Malinche. The song describes indigenous people in Mexico’s view of Europeans arrival and the subsequent effects on Mexican identity, where the “other” became indigenous culture and physical attributes. The song serves as an indictment of the embrace of the foreigner while set against the current theater of politics in which xenophobia has replaced the “good neighbor”. Magallanes’ work confronts the fear of the other and the parallel existence of those affected by institutional racism that disallows full participation in western society while simultaneously questioning what constitutes an American through iconography and visual rhetoric.
Magallanes’ work has been exhibited at the North Carolina Museum of Art, Museo CEART de Baja California Mexicali, Mexico, the National Museum of Mexican American Art in Chicago, Illinois, the McNay Museum in San Antonio, Texas, Las Cruces Museum of Art, Las Cruces, New Mexico and is part of the permanent collections of the National Museum of Mexican American Art, La Salle University Art Museum and the McNay Museum. In 2014, he participated in the Los Angeles County Museum of Art’s Andrew W. Mellon Curatorial Fellowship Academy.